Audio Track

Bothwell village and its immediate surroundings east of the River Clyde were the site of three medium sized Victorian Age collieries, Bothwell Castle, Bothwell Park and Hamilton Palace.  The former two were financed by William Baird, the Coatbridge iron master, and the latter by the Bent Coal Company.  Each had its collection of mining company workers houses with Bothwell Park and Hamilton Palace creating new villages.  The mineral owners were the Earl of Home and the Duke of Hamilton. The two mining companies built workers houses of two rooms for rent. The rent was deducted from the workers pay automatically. The Bothwell houses were sited in an existing village but the other two communities began on green sites. The latter two did not contain a company store. The Bothwell Castle houses consisted of a three storey tenement block and two storey terraces. The Bothwell Park houses consisted of six single storey terraces. The Hamilton Palace houses consisted of fourteen two storey terraces. The mining companies also built larger houses for their managerial staff. The collieries worked the same seams and the coal was  sold into the domestic, manufacturing and blast furnace markets.  The collieries reached their zenith of output about 1910, when Hamilton Palace employed 1226 workers, Bothwell Park 663 workers and Bothwell Castle 522 workers. Bothwell Park was recognised as one of Britain’s most productive collieries. Bothwell Park closed in 1930, Bothwell Castle closed in 1950 and was used to pump water away from the Blantyre collieries until 1953, and Hamilton Palace closed in 1959 due to the cost of pumping.